Progress without Poverty: Socially Responsible Economic Growth

By Peter S. Albin | Go to book overview

10
Urban Decay Within
a Growing Economy

THIS chapter carries the analysis of poverty into a description of how the social, economic, and fiscal pressures of unbalanced growth intensify over time within the cities. The concern here is with a process whereby industrial dualism leads to a concentration of poverty within the cities. The initial concentration, when coupled with a lack of resiliency in the structures, rules, and institutions of public finance, leads to further accumulation and concentration of the poor and additional cost pressures on services. Thus, the resources of urban centers are overwhelmed. With the inevitable curtailment of real services, the traditional "melting pot" social-transformation capacity of the city is vitiated.


THE FUNCTIONING OF A CITY

The life of a functioning city exists in two interpenetrating domains, the human and the economic. 1 The human domain, largely intangible, consists of the possibilities for meaningful interaction implicit in sheer concentration of population and the supporting presence of institutions and traditions that have grown out of past, present, and potential interactions. Great cities—Rome, Vienna, New York, Paris, London, Amsterdam, and perhaps a few others—are made so by the richness, depth and variety of the

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